Today I’m excited to share with you one of the projects we tackled as a part of our Kitchen make-over, this DIY Stenciled Bookcase. It’s quite easy to stencil the back of a bookcase with paint. Keep reading to find out how we did it.
This project is sponsored by Royal Design Studio but the text, opinions and crazy ideas are ALL mine.
Table of Contents
Way back in 2007 we were not even thinking about moving. Then one day we walked through a home for sale and I had one of those “you need to buy this house” moments. It’s a crazy long story with a few twists and turns but in the end, everything worked out the way it was supposed to. I loved the home layout and the location, I did not however love the kitchen. It had a few “strikes” against it in my opinion.
Slowly over the last 8 years, we have been updating our kitchen. After burning meals for a month straight, the first thing we changed was the cooktop. We also added a backsplash, rearranged the cabinets, and added a vent hood.
This is what the kitchen looks like today (well not TODAY, this was on a day when the kitchen was clean, it’s not technically clean today *wink*)
The kitchen redo deserves a post all of its own, as does the adjoining family room. Today I’m going to share with you one of my favorite smaller projects that we tackled in our kitchen, this bookcase project.
Why a Bookcase in a Kitchen?
We have a funny corner in our kitchen that we could not find a piece of furniture to fit. We’ve had a mini-fridge there, a wire bookshelf, and even a Christmas tree.
I looked for years for a piece of furniture that would fit in the corner and match the look we were going for in our kitchen, but I never found one (or at least couldn’t find one in the price range I was looking for). After a while, I decided that I needed to stop looking at commercial produced furniture and possibly take on a redo project.
We have a lot of storage in our kitchen but I wanted a space to keep my frequently used cake plates and large platters.
I also wanted a space to display some of the items I’ve collected over the years. (The breadboards were hidden away in a cabinet, and I was so happy to get them back out, I picked them up on Portabello Road in London years ago.)
Since we painted our kitchen cabinets white I was a bit worried about an entirely white kitchen, I didn’t want to lose too much color and detail in the process and wanted to make sure that we still kept a bit of “kitchen charm” in that room.
I’ve been pinning stenciled bookcase projects for the last few months on Pinterest and decided that it would be the perfect project for that funny corner in the kitchen. The only problem was finding an old bookcase in need of rehab. That was not as easy as you think it would be. Most antique stores keep their large bookcases for display. I also knew I wanted a wood bookcase, not a pressboard one.
I spied this one at a local store and it said it was not for sale. I spoke to the owner and after a little bit of sweet-talking, the bookcase was in my car on the way home with me.
After I got the bookcase home I cleaned it off and painted it with Annie Sloan Chalk Paint in Old White. It ended up taking 3 coats, I then stenciled the back with a stencil from Royal Design Studio….
Want to tackle a project like this yourself? Here’s what you need and what to do.
Chalk Painted & Stenciled Bookcase Supplies
You’re going to need:
- A Stencil, mine was the Fanfare Raven + Lily Furniture Stencil
- Stencil Brush
- Painters Tape
- Chalk Paint for stencil (I used Chateau Gray by Annie Sloan)
- Paper Towels (the blue are the best as they have less lint)
- Spray Adhesive
I chose to work with the Fanfare Raven + Lily stencil from Royal Design Studio, it’s one of their newest stencils that are inspired by African Tribal Designs. I actually had a hard time picking on the stencil. You can see their full selection here, there are so many great ones to pick from… A few years ago I stenciled the wall in our Dining Room and had a pretty good feel for the process and felt pretty confident working on a smaller project like a bookcase.
If you are stenciling a bookcase I recommend first checking to see if you can get the back off in one piece. If you can take it off and stencil it on the floor, it will be much easier. The back of my bookcase was glued on so I stenciled it in place. You can still do it that way it’s just easier if the back is separate from the rest of the bookcase.
Start by finding the center of your bookcase. Line up the stencil with the center. You’ll want to use a small level to make sure the stencil is straight. Spray your stencil with a bit of spray adhesive and adhere it to the bookcase using painter’s tape.
How to Use the Stencil
Pick up a bit of the paint in your stencil brush. Fold several pieces of paper towel together and place them on a paper plate. Dab the stencil brush on the paper towels until the brush is almost dry.
The biggest mistake you can make in this process is to use too much paint.
Apply the paint to the stencil in a circular motion. Pick up more paint as necessary, making sure to dab off the extra each time.
When you’ve covered the entire stencil remove it. Double-check that no paint bled through to the back of the stencil, then using the marks on the stencil line it up and begin stenciling again. Repeat this process until you’ve covered the entire back of the bookcase.
TIP: When you get to the corners you’ll want to use a bit more spray adhesive on the back of the stencil. Then you’re going to want to push the stencil into the corner, it’s flexible and should bend.
After you’ve stenciled the back of the bookcase, sand and distress it. I lightly sanded the stenciled portion of the back. Then finish the piece with a coat of wax.
That’s it! Now just load up the bookcase with all of your stuff!
liz n. says
This is exactly exactly exactly what I’ve been planning to do with a bookcase for the breakfast nook! My husband’s been in “I’m not sure” mode, but I just dragged him over to see your photos, and he is convinced! (“OH, yeah, that looks good. Yeah, we should do that.”)
My weekend project is set.
Melissa Mortenson says
Awesome!! He sounds like my husband!
Beautiful job on the bookcase!
PICAYA QUIVER FEATHER RAVEN + LILY WALL STENCIL and I would use it on my laundry room wall
Ruth Bross says
I am working on a chair back with cream fabric and rose and sage stencil colors
Jayne Highsmith says
I love your kitchen updates! The bookcase is beautiful. I have been “boiling over” on an electric cooktop forever. Gas scares me. I love the look of that hood though, and would love to take down my microwave. Where did you put yours? We can’t live without ours for reheating. Did I miss it in the photos?
lisa lee says
i’ve never gotten up the nerve to try and stencil anything. After looking at your project, I believe I want to try it. Thank you for the giveaway and for sharing your work.
Katharine A says
Love this idea and love the stencil you used. Thanks for the tips.
Staci Torgerson says
I love the Hollywood Square Stencil and would use it to stencil my subfloor in our Music room after I yank up the carpet.
Love how your bookcase turned out (love that stencil as well!) Enjoyed visiting their site and would pick the Elsabet Trellis Furniture Stencil to make a pile of pillows for my great room. Thanks for the sweet giveaway!
I also have dark countertops. I must paint my cabinets white.
After building our custom home 26 years ago I have decided to paint the kitchen oak cabinets white. My husband is now on board after seeing your beautiful kitchen makeover. Thank you for your creative website and wonderful ideas. I love it! Melissa you are an inspiration for me.
Sharlene Piscitelli says
Lily is very pretty and I also like Blossom Floral and Florentine Grille Border for some furniture pieces that I want to repurpose.
Cindy S. says
The Lily furniture stencil would be perfect to use on the 3 drawer dresser in my guest room.
Circling Allover Wall Art Stencil would be perfect for my granddaughter’s new room.
Sherry Fram says
I love the Moroccan Geometry stencil and I would use it on the top of my dining room table!
donna altieri says
i love the shibori stencil.
I keep changing my mind about what I like best. At this moment it is the San Bartolo Alison Woolley Medalian. So many great stencils. I love your bookcase!
I love what you did with that bookcase. Actually, I love the whole kitchen! It’s really pretty! I like that Elsabet Trellis Furniture Stencil a lot! I will be re-doing y kitchen soon, & that is a look I will have to try. Thanks for such a great giveaway!
colleen long says
I love the Morroccan Geometry stencil! It is so chic!
I like the owl stencils & sewing stencil,,,place on pillow wall……Thanks
I have a bookcase i need to do now lol loved how it turned out
Love the distressed stencil. Never thought of that. Great look
I love get ziggy with it. I’d love to use it behind the shelves of our built-in to make it pop !
Angela P. says
I love RAJ TRELLIS INDIAN WALL STENCIL! It’s gorgeous.
Debi W says
Lovely redo, she stands tall and proud now. Can’t go wrong with white on white – congrats.
Ruth Ann Hutchison says
This would be a great way to personalize my daughters’ room they are moving into to make space for baby girl #3!